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01/05/2015HRLSC1 Human Rights Legal Support Centre November 11, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "01/05/2015HRLSC1 Human Rights Legal Support Centre November 11, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 01/05/2015HRLSC1 Human Rights Legal Support Centre November 11, 2014

2 01/05/2015HRLSC2 Human Rights basics Ontario’s Human Rights Code has supremacy over other laws and protects people from discrimination in employment, services and housing The law is enforced by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario – they can award money for pain and suffering and lost wages (“damages”) and order changes to the way people practice business

3 01/05/2015HRLSC3 Where does the Code apply? Employment Housing Services, goods and facilities Contracts Membership - Associations (e.g. unions, professional associations)

4 01/05/2015HRLSC4 Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination Race, colour Ancestry Place of origin Citizenship Ethnic origin Creed (religion) Receipt of social assistance (housing only) Gender identity and expression Sexual orientation Marital status Family status Record of offenses (employment only, must have been pardoned) Age Disability Sex (includes being pregnant, sexual harassment and gender identify)

5 01/05/2015HRLSC5 Examples Employment (83% of cases fall here) “ You’ve taken so many sick days, we`re going to let you go.” “Your depression is affecting your work. You’re fired.” “We only want you back after your medical leave if you are able to work at one hundred percent”. “We only provide accommodation if your disability was caused by a workplace accident” “If you cannot do the same volume of work as everybody else, you cannot work here”. We have to treat everyone the same” “Getting the computer application you require is too expensive. You can get it yourself, if you need it”

6 01/05/2015HRLSC6 What is Discrimination? Differential treatment, deny a benefit, exclude, impose obligations, disadvantage, etc. because of a characteristic or perceived characteristic Intent is not necessary Discriminatory factor may be one of many factors

7 01/05/2015HRLSC7 What is equality? It does NOT mean to treat everyone the same Same treatment ≠ equality Substantive Equality Focuses on the effects of rules, policies, practices e.g. a workplace “rule” applied to everyone may appear neutral but may have a different and discriminatory impact on someone who is protected under the Code

8 01/05/2015HRLSC8 The Duty to Accommodate What is the Duty to Accommodate? Structures, rules, policies may have to be changed to ensure persons protected by a prohibited ground of discrimination are to fully enjoy equality with respect to housing, employment, services, etc. Accommodation must be made short of undue hardship

9 01/05/2015HRLSC9 Principles of Accommodation Dignity Individualized accommodation Integration and full participation

10 01/05/2015HRLSC10 Defining undue hardship Responsibility of housing provider, employer, etc. to demonstrate undue hardship. This means that accommodation must be provided unless there would be a very serious impact on the employer, landlord or service provider. It also implies that some amount of impact is to be expected in providing accommodation. This is a high standard. Only factors: Cost (taking into account outside sources of funding) Health and safety

11 01/05/2015HRLSC11 Ontario’s human rights system Applicant OHRC HRLSCHRTO

12 01/05/2015HRLSC12 The Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) Opened its doors on June 30, 2008 The Human Rights Legal Support Centre was created to provide legal help to people who were discriminated against and are filing a human rights application at the Tribunal The Centre only provides legal assistance to applicants No income testing The Centre provides services to people across Ontario. No fees for services.

13 01/05/2015HRLSC13 Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario deals with all claims of discrimination filed under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Tribunal resolves applications through mediation or adjudication. Contact the Tribunal for procedural questions – they cannot give legal advice. The Tribunal can help you with: Application form to make a claim of discrimination Guide to completing an Application form about your experience of discrimination Information about the process for bringing an Application about discriminatory treatment Information about an Application that you have made to the Tribunal about discrimination.

14 01/05/2015HRLSC14 The Ontario Human Rights Commission Public education, awareness and policies Research and make recommendations to prevent and eliminate discriminatory practices (including reviews of legislation and policies) Initiate inquiries into discriminatory practices in communities, workplaces and make recommendations to prevent such practices

15 01/05/2015HRLSC15 The Centre and how we do our work HRSLC provides services at every stage Early intervention - Where resolution is possible - phone call to potential respondent or demand letter Before an application is filed - Advice – determination of issues - Referral where not human rights issue Preparing and filing application - Assistance in drafting and filing application OR - On record to prepare and file application After the application is filed - Advice in preparing for mediation or hearing OR - Retained to prepare for mediation and hearing At mediation at the Tribunal - Advice to self-represented applicants OR - Representation at mediation Post-mediation - Representation in settlement negotiations - Advice to self-represented applicants OR - Preparation for hearing as counsel of record Representation at hearing Enforcement – for clients and for self-representing applicants.

16 01/05/2015HRLSC16 Service provided in over 140 languages We have in-house language abilities in fifteen languages, and the assistance of community- based interpreter services across the province. We also have a contract with a service provider that would give us immediate access to telephone interpreting services in over 140 languages. We also use three way videoconferencing for ASL interpreters

17 01/05/2015HRLSC17 Process of Human Rights Application Application Response Reply Mediation Hearing

18 01/05/2015HRLSC18 Settlement directly between parties Human rights applicant will share her story as part of corporate training A woman with a muscular condition was interviewed for a job with a mid-sized non-profit organization. When she followed up to find out about the position she was told that they had decided not to hire her because of her disability. The Centre negotiated a settlement that included general damages and human rights training for all management within six months. The woman was able to participate directly in the training to talk about the impact that the discrimination had on her individually.

19 Applicant had bipolar disorder and provided full disclosure of diagnosis to his new employer. He also requested accommodation. Within eight days he was dismissed from his position. 01/05/2015HRLSC19 Tribunal decision – Lane – award $80,000 approx.

20 Tribunal Decision – Torrejon- Awarded $22,600 approx. A worked as a leasing agent. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and informed her employer that she would be having surgery and would be working until then. She subsequently changed her mind and opted for a different treatment. When she informed her employer that she no longer needed a leave of absence, she was told that she had already resigned and was not allowed to return to work 01/05/2015HRLSC20

21 01/05/2015HRLSC21 HRLSC Contact Information Human Rights Legal Support Centre Tel: (416) Toll Free: 1-866— TTY: (416) TTY Toll Free:


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